Modern day female characters nearly always get raped: Keira Knightley

Actor shares her thoughts on contemporary films, harassment experiences and more

Entertainment Desk January 18, 2018

Keira Knightley's career in Hollywood has been full of opulent period roles and her vast career trajectory includes films such as AtonementThe DuchessAnna Karenina, and of course, not to forget her Oscar-nominated performance in Pride & Prejudice.
The 32-year-old actor has now revealed the disturbing reason why she tends to avoid films set in the present times, reported Harper’s Bazaar.

Taking into account the powerful female-centric stories that have recently gained popularity, the Bend It Like Beckham star criticised films set in the modern day for "nearly always" portraying female characters as victims of rape.


"With the rise of Netflix and Amazon we're seeing some strong female characters and female stories on streaming services," Knightley told Variety. "I don't know about films as much. I don't really do films set in the modern day because the female characters nearly always get raped.”

She continued, "I always find something distasteful in the way women are portrayed, whereas I've always found very inspiring characters offered to me in historical pieces."

The actor however, admitted that roles for women are slowly improving and that she has been offered parts that aren't merely reacting to or based on the male characters around them. "There's been some improvement," Knightley continued. "I'm suddenly being sent scripts with present-day women who aren't raped in the first five pages and aren't simply there to be a loving girlfriend or wife."


Meanwhile, as the #MeToo movement and Time's Up campaign has seen women (and men) break their silence on sexual harassment, it's become conventional for high-profile women to be asked whether harassment or abuse is something they've been subjected to during interviews.

Knightley responded to such a question by saying she's never been sexually harassed on a film set but has experienced harassment in her personal life. "I'm fortunate that I've never been sexually abused professionally or harassed on a film set but in my personal life, when I've been in bars, I can count four times when I’ve been what I'd say was assaulted in a minor way," she recalled.


"I think everyone has battled their fair share of monsters. It's not just female actors… it’s teachers; it's lawyers.” She added, "I'm not talking about rape but I'm talking about the people who had been grabbed in pubs.”

"For too long, you really did go, 'Oh, this is just normal.' It's terrifying that was our response. It must have been awful for all of those brave women who have come forward and spoken publicly about their experiences,” Knightley expressed.

"We're in a period of time in which it all has to come out. Then we need to move forward and figure out how to make sure that it doesn't happen again,” she concluded.

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